Bejul Somaia, former Flipkart exec part of Lightspeed’s new Southeast Asia team
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Multi-stage venture capital firm Lightspeed Venture Partners, which has backed startups such as Oyo and Byju’s, is expanding its operations to Southeast Asia with headquarters in Singapore.

The Southeast Asia team includes former Flipkart executive Akshay Bhushan, Lightspeed veteran Bejul Somaia and former Tiger Global executive Pinn Lawjindakul, the VC firm said in a statement.

Marsha Sugana, who has worked with firms including L Catterton and Goldman Sachs, will also be part of the team.

The VC firm will dip into its global funds for investments in Southeast Asia. In April, Lightspeed said it had raised over $4 billion (around Rs 30,571.6 crore) across three funds to invest in early- and growth-stage startups globally.

Lightspeed has invested in the region previously, too. Some of its portfolio companies in the region include super-app Grab, social commerce platform Chilibeli, business-to-business marketplace platform Ula, and enterprise artificial intelligence software provider NextBillion.ai.

“With a large, tech-savvy, and young population, Southeast Asia is leading the charge in technology-driven innovation. We have a strong belief in the opportunities here and the capabilities that founders of this region have demonstrated,” Somaia said.

It is not clear whether Somaia will continue to be associated with Lightspeed’s India operations.

It is also not clear on whether his new role will trigger any key-man clause relating to the firm’s domestic investments, especially considering Lightspeed India Partners last month raised $275 million (around Rs 2,052 crore) for its new, third fund. On the flip side, no such clause may be triggered as Somaia is not leaving Lightspeed.

While there are several variations on the definition of a key-man clause, it is usually a clause that prevents an investment firm from making new bets if one – or more – specified ‘key’ persons are not available to give the required time to it.

VCCircle has reached out to the firm and will update this report accordingly.

Somaia, who joined Lightspeed in 2008, also helped set up the VC firm’s India operations and has been part of investments in companies such as OYO Rooms and Udaan.

Bhushan, who has been associated with Lightspeed India Partners for the past five years, was previously an executive with Flipkart, where he led its strategic investments and acquisition initiatives. Apart from the e-commerce company, Bhushan has worked with Bain & Company and co-founded shopper engagement platform Whalelogix.

Lawjindakul, meanwhile, has worked with Tiger Global Management and Bain & Company, and has been associated with startups including Grab.

Sugana, who has worked with PE firm L Catterton and Goldman, has experience with covering large publicly traded companies in Southeast Asia’s consumer and retail sectors.

Lightspeed’s recent India-related investments include the San Francisco- and Bengaluru-based Hasura Inc., recruitment platform Apna.co and manufacturing services marketplace Zetwerk.

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